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An 80s Ride with An 80s Touch


Talk about old school, this here might just be the oldest school there is, a generation of cars that came into being when most of the current generation weren’t even conceived yet. When even their parents were busy figuring out what’s the most appropriate curl to go with their tight, figure-hugging pants, how to emulate John Travolta’s dance floor moves, how to stand by the bar and hold your drink – all for the sake of impressing that pretty girl who’d just walked in to the joint with her other pretty young friends.

Of course there are other even older generations of cars but it’s not exactly something you’d expect to see in this here hyper domain. Our niche is all about mods and excess and everything in between whilst them older generations of rides have a niche all their own, and we do not even presume to meddle in something we have only a limited knowledge of (Cue Google). The Classic Cars segment is indeed huge and there are countless of magnificent cars that can just teach the so-called current ‘cream of the crop’ a thing or two, or even more; about the purity of performance. And although the ride we’re featuring here is not exactly one of that bunch, the mods that have been done therein have certainly elevated its status.

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Okay before we began ranting on about the mammoth list of mods on this beautifully done, screaming banana yellow Mark 2 Escort, I think a quick history lesson is in order. Succeeding the distinctively 60s looks of the Mark 1 Escort, the squarer, more contemporary (at the time anyway, it was the mid-70s) Mark 2 version first appeared in 1975, and it has gone into production for some five years or thereabouts. It has had a glorious rallying career with successful campaigns in RAC Rally and of course the WRC. In 1979 Björn Waldegård took the drivers’ titleHannu Mikkola was runner-up and Ari Vatanen finished the year in fifth place, all driving the Mark 2 Escort RS1800s.

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So it takes no stretch of the imagination to think that this particular Escort was somewhat inspired by those legendary Finnish exploits. Of course, the works rally cars were highly specialized machines, although in that regard so is this yellow version right here. The 1.6-liter Cross Flow was wholesomely reworked (by RamlyMotorwork) – the heads getting the usual port and polished, and the stock piston was replaced with the 1.3-liter GT pistons to perk up the compression ratio. Piper cams with race-spec valve springs took over from the stock ones, and the crème de la crème – an honest-to-goodness Twin Weber DCOE 40 complete with custom-made trumpets handles carbureting work.

The only electronic item is the Accuspark distributor ignition kit. Well, that and an electric fuel pump if you want to be thorough. Anyway, the increase in power is relayed through a 4-speed (Yup a four speed) Type 2 gearbox. You can somehow see that this baby can and does indeed rip the tarmac with an awesome Weber carburetor-fed intensity and we can only hypothesize what the numbers for the century sprint and top end are. Suffice to say here that they’re impressive.

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There are other supplementary items of course are the handling and in this avenue the list of mods is pretty long and thorough. These are pretty much compulsory items in this case, when a ‘blast from the past’ like the 1980 Escort Mark 2 comes blasting in, you know what I mean? Its chassis must’ve gone through some hellish stages of wear and tear and there can be no question that the shocks and the ancillaries needed some replacing. And so the owner went a pair of Bilstein absorbers for the rear while up front he went with a fully custom set-up. Panhard rods to prevent lateral movement were also installed. But still, the original single leaf springs remained in tact, the owner keeping with the ‘if it ain’t broken don’t fix it’ maxim.

Now the somewhat spartan interior is now, after having been refurbished all over, is still pretty Spartan, but in a nice way. Sorta. The painfully 80s seats were yanked out in favor of a pair of full Cobra bucket seats, while a ‘works’ steering wheel plus a Quickshift gear lever completes the little ensemble. There are other bits and pieces, which I have not mentioned just as there were as per its go-faster extras, but not to worry lads. You can read through the Hyperfacts for the full monty.

Going with the external aesthetics now the Mark 2 Escort bodywork – designed with the trademark ‘squared-off edges’ 80s theme is among the most recognizable of all cars from that era. There’s simply no mistaking its coupe-like profile and gutsy-looking façade. In this regard, the owner stuck to its original looks through and through. The yellow paintjob contrasts well with the black body details – front grille, side mirrors, door handles et al, and it certainly goes well with the made-in-Japan Magroad wheels also finished in black.

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Perhaps as retro old school rides go this yellow Escort sits snugly in between the radical and the understated, between the extreme and the slightly more discreet. But in both regards it still stands out.

Kudos to the owner.

Hyperfacts!
Engine Mods: 1.6 liter Crossflow engine, Port and Polished Heads by RamlyMotorwork, Piper 285 cams with racing valve springs, 1.3 GT pistons, Twin Weber DCOE 40 with custom-made trumpets, high-pressure Burton Racing oil pump, electric fuel pump, Ford strut bar, Ford filler cap, Accuspark Distributor Ignition system

Transmission: Type 2 4-speed manual gearbox

Brakes: Original Ford Escort brakes

Chassis: Bilstein rear absorbers, custom-made front absorbers, Panhard rods, original single leaf spring with 2 inch lowering block

Wheels & Tyres: 14 inch Magroad rims 6.5J front and rear; Yokohama A Drive 185/60/R14

Interior: Cobra bucket seats, Works steering wheel, Quickshift gear lever, Ford Escort 220km/h speedometer & clock

Exterior: Original Ford Escort side mirrors, rear rubber spoiler, quarter bumper. Quarter glass seal with perspec plate, polyurethane undercarriage bushing, Sparco bonnet pin, boot spring kit, original emblem, custom-made ‘Mexico’ decals